Improve Family Communication and
With demanding work schedules, children in school, personal challenges, familial responsibilities such as paying
the rent/mortgage, car payments, and other household expenses it can become increasingly difficult to stay
connected as a family. Too many times we assume because we are “family” that we can put our loved ones on the
back burner, unlike friendship, familial relationships are not conditional. You are either family or you are not,
there is no in between.
So, what do we mean when we say families should stay connected?
To put it simply we are referring to the spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical connectedness or bond
that keeps us in tuned with those we love. It is the feeling of being loved and accepted unconditionally, faults
Improve Family Communication and Stay Connected
Stop fighting the
Discuss your day
with your family
Say thank you Sharing feelings
How can you establish and maintain connectedness with family members?
Showing affection is a little easier when children are younger as they often initiate and crave both
attention and affection. However, when children reach their teenage years they go through a period of
both physical and cognitive changes that can limit and even interfere with their ability to show affection.
Hugging mom and dad in public as a child is often done freely and fiercely, but teenagers may hesitate
or avoid PDA from the parents if they think their peers may see it.
Say thank you
Saying thank you for a helping hand or selfless gesture can produce positive benefits for both those
receiving the help and those providing the help. Saying thank you acknowledges the other persons
contribution or kind act. Our children are no different, we want to acknowledge as well as thank them
when they have done something nice for us.
Discuss your day with your family
Asking family members about their day, including spouses allows members to stayed informed of the
changes occurring within that family members lives. Asking about your loved one’s day is a common
question that can be asked when a spouse returns home from work, children return home after school,
etc. Get a conversation started with your teens to connect with them. Explore each other's days and really
pay attention to what your kids have to say.
Sharing one’s feelings is not an easy task for everyone, some people struggle in this area. However, it is
very important that as parents you learn how to express your feelings sooner rather than later. Children
learn how to express themselves through a process known as modeling. If you hide your feelings or act
only on angry feelings your children are more likely to do the same.
Stop fighting the same fights
As difficult as this may sound some arguments or disagreements cannot be solved between family
members. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to agree to disagree. By fighting the same fight,
resentment, hurt feelings, and animosity can build.
How to disagree respectfully
One of the most important skills children should learn is how to disagree with others respectfully. School-
age kids are establishing their individuality and independence, forming their own opinions about things,
and figuring out what they like and don't like. It's only natural that they may occasionally not see eye-to-
eye on something with a friend, a teacher, or parents. However, they must learn to do so respectfully,
understanding that there will be decisions made on their behalf by an adult that they may not yet
Speak in an even tone without raising your voice.
Ensure when you are in an environment that does not create a distraction and your child can hear what
you are saying.
Allow children to have the opportunity to voice their feelings
Be clear, talk only about the current issues of concern. Do not drift back and forth between the past and
When you notice you are becoming upset table the conversation for a later time or date. You want
children to focus on your message not your mood.
Do not use ultimatums or threats
Do not use the silent treatment
Benefits of healthy communication
Children learn and develop good
Builds self-esteem for children
Helps children learn how to
effectively express their feelings
Family bonds are strengthened
Trust builds in the relationship
Family members become more
reliant on each other
Children have less incidents of
acting out behaviors
Children learn and can
distinguish between what is
appropriate communication and
what is unhealthy communication
Consequences of Ineffective
Family members have a difficult time feeling connected
Children received mixed messages which can be
Anxiety and resentment are more like to be present
when communication is ineffective
Children learn to fear parents not respect them
Children develop poor listening skills, e.g., tune in an
out of discussions
Children will have marked difficulty managing conflict
Children feel like they can’t do anything right
Family members are more likely to yell at rather than
communicate with each other
Family members have a difficult time resolving conflict,
e.g., more likely to self-isolate from other members
Start and maintain a night specifically for your family
Take a family trip together, one that includes activities
for parents, children, and the family as a whole.
Use your words wisely with your children
Try and eat dinner together
Cultivate an encouraging environment in the home
Implement a no cell phone, tablet, laptop policy when family members
are spending time together, e.g., watching a movie, enjoying a meal, etc.
Consciously make time to discuss with family members what going
on in each others lives.
Encourage siblings to be closer by adding a no tattling policy
Tips to Improve Family Communication and Stay Connected